Wednesday, June 23, 2021

Review of Scorn of Secrets by B. Truly


The tagline for this book on Amazon compares Scorn of Secrets to Flowers in the Attic. And let me tell you, I can see some light parallels to V.C. Andrews in B. Truly's novel. Check out an excerpt and my full thoughts and then follow the tour for even more. Best of luck in the giveaway!

I must keep it locked away—the memory of my darkest secret….

When the rising tides of my life peak, I’m left struggling with the currents of the storm. The first dilemma is my dad’s gambling debt. Mama bounces back quickly from the ramifications it causes. She proves this by getting a new man. Her Rico Suave is just the tip of the iceberg—she moves us across state to live with him and his two sons.

My outgoing, older sister fits right in—she’s the total opposite of me. I am Madison Guillory, the shy, quiet type. Taught to make the best of even the worst situations, I contemplate giving my new family a chance.

Living with my future stepbrothers is interesting, to say the least. They’re like night and day. I have more in common with the laid-back brother, and we become instant friends. I’m adjusting to Taylor High, and the arrogant brother is even starting to grow on me. Maybe everything will work out after all.

My life finally seems to be falling into place until a dreadful night shatters my dreams. My world is flipped upside down because of the consequences I must now bear.

The memories of that night lurk in the shadows to torment me. If I think of what happened, I’ll succumb to my fear. His face has scorned me. No one will believe me if I confess, not even my own sister. I hold the key to my darkest secret, desperate to keep it locked away.

Read an excerpt:
My mind begins to wander in the quietness. A new home, city, and school—no friends. Deep in thought, my head snaps to attention when I hear a baritone voice coming into the kitchen. He’s singing, “That’s what I like” by Bruno Mars. My eyes bulge, swearing that he sounds better than Bruno himself.

When he catches sight of me, his tune cuts off abruptly, and his hazel eyes widen. It’s Jackson. He’s dressed more casually in warmup pants and a T-shirt. He must have skipped dinner, too. I swallow hard, assuming he’s going to call me sweet-cheeks again.

“Hi,” he finally says.

“Hey, Jackson.” Maybe if I play nice, he won’t tease me.

His warm hazel eyes twinkle. “I’m not Jackson. I am his brother.”

“Oh,” is all I can muster. This boy is just as tall. He has the same handsome face, lean figure, and muscular arms as Jackson. They’re identical! My mother failed to mention Regan had twin sons. We stare at each other. As I’m studying him, he appears to be researching me. I can’t get a read on his expression. Friendly, although I seem to have startled him. My body is surging with an electric warmth as we stare. I look away, refusing to admit I was ogling him. I shouldn’t feel too foolish. His gaze wasn’t brotherly, either.

Glancing at him quickly, I spy him still staring. “What?” It’s a rude comment—the word just spills out of my mouth. My impoliteness doesn’t seem to faze him. His lips curve upward. A dimple! A deep one forms in his left cheek. Well, that is one way to tell them apart.

He clears his throat, breaking eye contact. “Um … nothing. Sorry, I’m not used to a girl being in our house.”

“Hate to break it to you, but I’m being forced to live here now.” He chuckles. The sound of his laugh makes my stomach flutter. I don’t like it one bit.

“It’s not bad living here. Big house, great amenities—give it a chance.”

“The house is gigantic.” I shrug. “But Baton Rouge will always be home to me. It’s where I was born and have lived all my life.”

He nods in understanding. “Fair enough. I’m Justin, by the way.”

“Yeah, I met your obnoxious twin.”

He laughs again. “That would be my older brother, by only five minutes.”

Explaining my ogling, I say, “My mom forgot to tell us you and Jackson are twins.”

“Ah, that would account for the look on your face.”

I smirk at him, trying to hold in my smile.

“You must be Madison.”

“Lucky guess?”

“No, I haven’t met your sister yet. Your curls gave it away.”

My curls? “I don’t get your drift.” Justin opens the fridge, pulling out both trays. He stuffs more on his plate than I had.

“My dad told us the younger one, Madison, has a head full of curls.”

I remember the first time Tanya and I met Regan when he came to Baton Rouge. Self-consciously, I tug on a curl, yanking it straight. Once I release the piece, it springs right back into a spiral. My hair falls to my shoulders. I never do much to it because my curls are hard to tame.

A light sparkles in Justin’s hazel eyes. “Your hair is pretty.”

His admission surprises me. My stomach turns a cartwheel. Ugh! My manners intercept my irritation. Just because Justin’s making me uneasy doesn’t mean I shouldn’t thank him for complimenting me. “Thanks.”

“Do you dye it?”

I get asked this question often. It’s dominantly dark brown with natural highlights. “Um, no. Just born with two-toned colored hair.”

“The blondish highlights are quite unique.”

Okay, time to leave. Justin is charming and sings like an angel. I like the fact he’s making small talk—it lightens the mood. The problem is I shouldn’t be attracted to a boy who could possibly become my future stepbrother. “I’m gonna head upstairs.”

His forehead wrinkles. “Nice meeting you.”

After I clean my plate, I smile—or attempt to. I hurry away, because my cheeks are growing redder by the minute. I wish my complexion wasn’t such a light shade of brown. Even a blind person could see my blush.

I worry about my first impression on him. I’m sure I seemed ill-mannered. But in the short span of time talking to Justin, my palms became clammy and my body tingly. Two totally different reactions with the Jenkins’ twins. Jackson sorta got under my skin—Justin set me ablaze. This is just day one in Houston Texas.

What else will this city bring?

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**My thoughts**
So many emotions rolling around for me in this book. I like Madison a lot. She has been dealt a crap hand in the family department with a sister who treats her like crap, a father who gets himself murdered by going deep into gambling debt with the wrong people, and a mother who is so self-absorbed she just seems to have no clue what is going on. Sure, they got lucky when Mom reconnected with an old flame who was willing to take the three ladies in. And he has two smoking hot sons and a ton of money. But even that isn't great. Regan doesn't seem to be aware of anything that is going on in his house. And Jackson is just creepy. Thank goodness for Justin. 

The girls at the new high school are predictably nasty. Reading about characters like this make me so glad I had the great experience I did in those days. But Madison is strong and seems to be able to hold her own.

Until the one night that she can't.

**Necessary spoiler and content warning** 

There is a sexual assault. And the second half of this book deals with the fallout from all of that.

My heart was absolutely broken for Madison in the second half of this book as she has to deal with this horrible secret. I almost got possessive of her and wanted to fix it for her. I found myself growling here and there as I read this.

But I was completely engrossed in the book, sneaking a few pages here and there while I was at work. The tagline on Amazon references Flowers in the Attic, which was one of my favorite books in my youth. I can definitely see some of the parallels between author B. Truly and V.C. Andrews. That's quite possibly part of the reason I was so engrossed. Looking forward to finding out what happens next.

B. Truly has wanted to be an author since she was fifteen years old. She is grateful to have accomplished this dream. B. Truly has very vivid dreams and a wild imagination. She likes to read, watch tons of TV shows, and movies. She’s addicted to romance and gets a thrill out of suspense and sci-fi. She writes young adult, new adult, and adult romance, sci-fi, dystopian, and paranormal genres.

B. Truly likes to explore conflicted plots of romance with thrilling twists. She also loves creating impossible situations for her characters to grow from and try to overcome.

B. Truly has three wonderful children, and a husband who defines the person that she is today. She works full-time as an Ultrasound technologist in Houston, Texas.

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B. Truly will be awarding a $10 Amazon/BN GC to a randomly drawn winner via rafflecopter during the tour.

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Thursday, June 17, 2021

Review of Bake Believe by Cori Cooper


Welcome to the review tour for Bake Believe by Cori Cooper! This is a book full of delectable baked goods and an interesting family twist. Read my full review and an excerpt from the book before you download your copy. Follow the tour for even more thoughts and sneak peeks inside. Best of luck entering the giveaway!

Cat Anderson doesn't want much out of life. Give her a circle of friends to giggle with, a few boys to flirt with, a cute outfit, and she is good to go! She especially could care less about food.

But food, it turns out, is a very big deal.

In Cat's family there is a secret too fantastic to be real. Something happens when Cat bakes.

Something amazing.

Something impossible.

Can it be true? Or is it Bake Believe?

Read an excerpt:
Robyn saw the look on my face and sat back up. She reached for a corn tortilla and held it in front of my face. “See this?”

I nodded.

“This tortilla, by itself, is muy disgusting.”

Marissa clicked her tongue.

Robyn glanced at her mom but kept talking. “It is super bland all by itself, but if you add salsa or guacamole or something else, it’s deliciouso!” She spooned salsa down the center, rolled it up and took a bite to prove her point.

I nodded again, even though I had no idea what she was talking about.

As soon as she was done chewing, Robyn spread her hands out. “You don’t want a bland tortilla life, Cat; you want life with the salsa!”

Book Links:

**My thoughts**
My favorite part of this book is definitely all of the fantastic recipes that are interwoven throughout. I love the way that the author puts her personality into the directions for making the various concoctions. They make for a fun collection and I look forward to trying some of them out.

The story was ... interesting. Cat is a lot to take in, especially at the beginning of the book. She's extremely active, loud, and rambles on in that present tense narration where you know every single little detail of what she sees and is doing that is not my favorite. (This does ease up as the story goes on, though.) She's also way overly concerned with what anyone else thinks about her. When I later realized she was just starting the 8th grade, that part made a lot more sense and the abrasiveness eased. I also think that Cat calmed down a bit more.

Her mother is extremely odd. She has a complete aversion to cooking or baking and refuses to let anyone in her household do either. They eat prepackaged foods or order out. Mom also seems to zone out. The teacher in me started getting very concerned about this poor girl and her family.

But then when school starts, everything starts to change. Cat ends up in a Culinary class, thanks to a weird mix-up with the schedules. And then halfway through the book, we find out why her mom is so weirded out about cooking and baking. Everything finally starts to make sense and then I found myself really enjoying the second half of the book. I especially like her interactions with Tobey and her lessons with her Aunt Marissa.

This is definitely a book geared toward younger teens. So if you're not used to that age group, I think you're going to have a hard time enjoying it. But I think kids around the same age as Cat and her friends will like it a lot. And again, the recipes alone are worth it. I do wonder if there will be more with Cat and company in future books?

Thank you to the author and Goddess Fish for fulfilling my request for a review copy. All thoughts and opinions are my own.

Since I was six years old I wanted to be a published Author. I still have all my early manuscripts, but don't ask to see them - my spelling was atrocious!

I'm a mama of four witty, movie quoting, awesome sauce kids - three teens and one preteen. Yes, they end up in my novels! Don't worry, names are changed to protect the innocent and everything is always GREATLY exaggerated! That's my super power.

I'm also wife to the cutest guy in the whole world. It's true! I'm not bias at all, really. We met in Middle School and got married after he served a mission for our Church. It's been a wild ride, but I wouldn't miss it for a plate full of Cinnamon Rolls.

Or anything else, actually!

I hope you have as much fun reading my stuff as I have writing it. The creative process is so fantastic, I just love every part of it!

Cori Cooper will be awarding a Bake Believe Apron (US Only) to a randomly drawn winner via rafflecopter during the tour.

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